18 09 2009

ANDRE FRANQUIN, 1924 – 1997, is for me the best comic strip artist ever! the characters he developed, especially GASTON LAGAFFE, the incredible, often very sarcastic humor he added to his drawings, the rough drawing style resulting from a mixture of thin brushwork and nibs, the way he translated the real world into a caricature, the buildings, the cars, nature – he is the absolute master!

franquin was not able to finish artschool in brussels, belgium, because of the second worldwar. after his school closed down, he joined an animation studio CBA – compagnie belge d’animation – for a short time, where he met some of his future comic strip colleagues, MAURICE DE BEVERE or MORRIS ( creator of LUCKY LUKE ), PIERRE CULLIFORD or PEYO ( creator of the SMURFS ) and EDDY PAAPE ( creator of LUC ORIENT and numerous other characters ). they all started to work from the mid-forties on for the comic strip publishing house DUPUIS.
in 1957 franquin started in SPIROU, the famous belgian comic magazine, a new series initiated by YVAN DELPORTE, spirou’s chief editor, GASTON LAGAFFE. gaston is the ‘anti-hero’, the office boy with mishaps and disastrous adventures mostly connected to a publishing house. the series became soon the biggest hit and franquin’s best known creation.

following are three pages of the GASTON series in SPIROU.




© franquin/dupuis



3 responses

18 09 2009

I’m a big fan of Franquin and Gaston or Guust as he is called in Holland, I love Franquin’s drawings most in Spirou albums like The Wrong Head (1957) and The Rhino’s Horn (1955) but his later work is great to, of course. (Franquin is one of the best comicbook artists of all time!)

Almost ten years ago I read an article on Gaston, it described how back then he was a disaster but how these days he would be the ultimate office-coworker. Gaston is creative, flexible and unorthodox (creating and updating office infrastructure, working nights and weekends, always thinking in a new direction), while the other Spirou-workers in the comic are old fashioned and boring drones (always dressed in suits, working form 9 to 5, never intersted in doing things in a new way).
I don’t know if I agree with all of this, but it sure was a funny observation!

19 09 2009
Zero Mojo

Hans, sadly, I think Franquin’s plum-nosed Gaston marks it as a dated European comic. Which is a shame! Because if you look closer, you see all the mechanics of comics there. The weight, the movement, the economy that makes him a master. I fear no one tries to link the slick style of a Sean Galloway or Humberto Ramos with the acute storytelling technique evident in Eisnerian ‘old man comics.’ Whether comics or animation, both generations have so much to teach other for the sake and vibrancy of the medium(s).

3 04 2010

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